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Duluth assisted living center ramps up safety measures amid COVID-19 concerns

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DULUTH, MN-A senior living facility in Duluth has been ramping up their safety measures to make sure COVID-19 doesn't become a reality there.

KBJR 6's Lyanne Valdez visited Keystone Bluffs Wednesday to check out the measures. Before she and Photojournalist Wyatt Buckner were allowed inside they had to make sure their temps weren't above 100.4 degrees, fill out a questionnaire about recent travel/how they felt, and sanitize their hands.

92-year-old Shirley Hoppenyan

For 92-year-old Shirley Hoppenyan, laughter is the best medicine.


"And it doesn't cost anything!" says Hoppenyan.

A dose of that has been getting her and her friends through the days.


"Everything has to be fun, get them laughing and they feel better," says Hoppenyan.

Shirley knows what's been happening lately with COVID-19, she watches the news at night.


"I'm not a TV person until 6'oclock at night then I turn it on and watch the news," says Hoppenyan.

So when her assisted living facility had to implement new safety measures, she understood.
"They're doing what they have to do and I appreciate it and I think most people do because we don't want to be sick," says Hoppenyan.

On Wednesday, Keystone Bluffs changed how the nearly 100 residents will dine.
"We created a horse show style of dining. Dining will be three times so we can reduce the sizes in the dining room," says CEO of Keystone Bluffs, Natalie Zeleznikar.

The staff has also added multiple hand sanitizer dispensers all over their building and activities for seniors have been cut in size.

"We've also gone one step further where we are going to have activities with groups of ten," says Zeleznikar.

Anyone coming in also has to go through some safety measures.
"We temp everybody before they're coming into any of our facilities, and we have a log sheet that asks if they've traveled outside the U.S. if they've had any exposure to anyone, any coughing, sore throat, fever," "Packages are delivered outside, medications we pick them up and have a system to get them," says Zeleznikar.

The safety measures have been changing by the day, but their goal will always stay the same.
"Our number one priority is to protect the whole and to try to avoid large numbers becoming infected," says Zeleznikar.

And as for Shirly, she likes it here, a lot.
"The staff here is so good. They will do anything you say… except give you a bottle of rum!" says Hoppenyan.

For now, family members are still not allowed to visit their loved ones, but they do have a line they're able to call and talk.

Lyanne Valdez

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